After being arrested for drinking and driving on January 31, Real Housewives of Orange County star Gina Kirschenheiter is ready to prove that she’s willing to do the work to be better. In a statement to Radar Online shared the day after her arrest, she explained that she was extremely disappointed in herself and had learned a valuable lesson. But now, in the wake of all the fan reaction — both good and bad — she is taking the opportunity to speak out again, calling her decision to drive home after drinking “epically stupid.”

Gina, 34, opened up about her regret on Instagram, sharing a photo that simply read, “The best apology is changed behavior.” In her own words, she continued, “I honestly believe that some issues, no matter how great and important, are truly only a part of our awareness once we are personally [affected] by them. For me … what happened this week is that issue. It’s amazing how in the course of less than a week you can realize the full extent of allowing people into your everyday life and how the opinions of everyone watching can run from incredibly chastising to extremely supportive.”

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I honestly believe that some issues no matter how great and important are truly only a part of our awareness once we are personally effected by them. For me….what happened this week is that issue. It’s amazing how in the course of less than a week you can realize the full extent of allowing people into your every day life and how the opinions of everyone watching can run from incredibly chastising to extremely supportive. Bad choices have bad consequences. Mine are magnified bc I chose to share my life with you on a very public stage. Those who are a part of my real life gave me words of encouragement and love knowing the content of my character and the love in my heart. As embarrassed and hard on myself as I’ve been in these past few days, I’ve been shocked by the astonishing amount of “it could have happened to anyone” and “we’ve all been there” that I’ve received through friends both close to me and on social media. I could easily join in with the chorus saying “you’re right, it could be any of us” but it shouldn’t be any of us. EVER ! It’s terrible that this has become a social norm. I am disappointed in myself and that I am a part of this social norm. Especially since everyone who knows me knows I’m the queen of Uber/Lyft. This didn’t happen to me. I wasn’t “unlucky” I made a conscious decision to do something epically stupid. One time is one time too many. I am awake now. I can promise this will NEVER BE ME again. To all of you who wrote me with pain in their hearts about how drinking and driving has had a negative impact on them and their families, I hear you. Thank you. I make this promise to each one of you with your messages in my heart…. I am committed to this cause and hope to effect a positive change and dialogue. You don’t have to believe me with these words, but I hope over time you will see through my actions.

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“Bad choices have bad consequences,” she wrote. “Mine are magnified [because] I chose to share my life with you on a very public stage. Those who are a part of my real life gave me words of encouragement and love knowing the content of my character and the love in my heart. As embarrassed and hard on myself as I’ve been in these past few days, I’ve been shocked by the astonishing amount of ‘it could have happened to anyone’ and ‘we’ve all been there’ that I’ve received through friends both close to me and on social media. I could easily join in with the chorus saying, ‘You’re right, it could be any of us,’ but it shouldn’t be any of us. EVER!”

“It’s terrible that this has become a social norm. I am disappointed in myself and that I am a part of this social norm. Especially since everyone who knows me knows I’m the queen of Uber/Lyft. This didn’t happen to me. I wasn’t ‘unlucky.’ I made a conscious decision to do something epically stupid. One time is one time too many. I am awake now. I can promise this will NEVER BE ME again. To all of you who wrote me with pain in their hearts about how drinking and driving has had a negative impact on them and their families, I hear you. Thank you. I make this promise to each one of you with your messages in my heart.”

She finished simply, “I am committed to this cause and hope to effect a positive change and dialogue. You don’t have to believe me with these words, but I hope over time you will see through my actions.”

In the comments, fans and friends alike heaped praise on the star for being “someone who actually owns their s–t,” with one Instagram user calling it “probably the most adult response to a lapse in judgement [they’ve] ever seen.” Even one of Gina’s fellow Real Housewives stars chimed in. “You’re human and a beautiful one at that,” wrote Real Housewives of Dallas‘ D’Andra Simmons. “We as people make mistakes and have our flaws. You live and learn. I’m just glad you’re safe and okay! Sending you love, honey!”

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